Texas Hill Country in the heart of Southeast Texas

Texas Hill Country in the heart of Southeast Texas

Wood Fired Grill inside Jerry Nelson’s Hill Country has been open for nearly a year now, and if you haven’t had the opportunity yet, you really need to give it a try.

The venue’s décor sets Wood Fired Grill apart from any other restaurant in Beaumont and is alone worth the visit. It has a warm, inviting feel that is reminiscent of a visit to the Texas Hill Country.

“People are going to enjoy the Hill Country concept,” said managing partner Roy Etie. “The interior, we have limestone (and) exposed timber, which is very popular architecture style now.”

The concept most likely came from Jerry Nelson’s own personal experiences in the Hill Country, which is known for beautiful terrain including hills of granite and limestone.

“I’ve been to a dozen Dew Drop Inns in the Texas Hill Country and really like the way they are suited,” said Nelson. “We have plenty of rock and cedar inside, both in the music hall and restaurant, and I want people to think they are sitting down, having a beer in the Texas Hill Country when they come inside.”

Even more impressive than the restaurant’s eating environment is the food itself.

We recommend starting your visit out with the burnt ends ($5). These flavorful pieces of meat are cut from the pointed half of a smoked brisket and are considered a delicacy in barbecue cooking. You’ll understand why when you taste them. They come with the restaurant’s house barbecue sauce, which is honestly the best barbecue sauce we’ve ever tasted!

Without giving too much of the secret away, the sauce is made with honey molasses, brown sugar, ketchup and mustard. Trust us on this one: It’s a must-try.

Many customers make a meal out of these alone. What makes them so good? The burnt ends, as well as every beef item on the menu, is certified Angus.

Certified Angus beef is the top 4 percent of America’s cuts, said Trent Hayhurst, head server and beef specialist for Wood Fired Grill.

“Angus is basically the lower end of prime, but that’s not a bad thing. Prime is the top 3 percent in America. So it’s the lower end of (USDA) prime but the higher end of (USDA) choice.”

And only about 1.5 percent actually makes the certified Angus beef brand, added O.C. Alfaro, GM of Wood Fired Grill.

Wood Fired Grill’s vast selection of quality lunch menu items are all priced $15 and under and served in hearty portions. We opted for beef tips ($15). These succulent cuts are served over white rice and prepared with a demi-glace bourbon sauce with mushrooms. The entrée comes with your choice of soup or salad and one side. We chose the purple hull peas, which complemented the beef tips’ flavor well. We could tell even the bacon in the peas was quality meat.

Who could resist the Hill Country Burger? It’s  a perfect size (1/3 pound Angus) and price ($9) and  is cooked to perfection along with steak taters that definitely deserve a plate of their own.

Wood Fired Grill has all the traditional desserts we love, too — blueberry cobbler, apple cobbler, and even bread pudding.

Health conscious eaters will appreciate the restaurant’s choice of five different salads and entrees such as seared tuna, asparagus, and grilled mahi-mahi.

And if you’re looking to wet your whistle, Wood Fired Grill has a full service bar with 11 different beers on tap, including craft favorites. St. Arnold’s Draft Root Beer floats have become a hit as well. If you’re looking for a cozy feel, high quality food, and a little taste of the Texas Hill Country, Wood Fired Grill inside Jerry Nelson’s Hill Country is your place. We were especially impressed by the parking lot attendant who met us at our vehicle and gave us a ride in his covered golf cart to the front door of the restaurant in the pouring rain.

“There is not a real steakhouse in Beaumont where you can eat a steak like Vic & Anthony’s and Pappas Bros. in Houston,” said Nelson. “Most of the stuff in Beaumont is fast food. We have been doing plenty of sampling, and we have some unique stuff on the menu, but it’s real good food. I’ve always wanted to open up a restaurant in town, so it’s a perfect fit.”